Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

Instagram Isn’t Killing Vine’s Growth (Not Yet, at Least)

Perhaps Facebook’s Instagram video product isn’t the Vine killer some thought it would be.

Vine was the No. 1 most downloaded non-game app in Apple’s App Store for the month of June, according to analytics website App Annie, beating out Instagram, which landed in fifth place during the same period.

That report comes shortly after another study from Onavo, which stated that of all the apps in the App Store in June, Vine ranked sixth in overall gains made in June.

All this, of course, is transpiring a little over a month and a half after Instagram debuted the ability to shoot video in its app, a feature that many assumed would mean certain death for Twitter’s six-second-video competitor. Instagram, like Facebook, has the ability to throw around its massive scale, invading sectors and potentially squashing competitors with the flick of a new feature switch.

The thing is, as I wrote last month, it has been difficult to tell just how much Instagram has affected Vine since video appeared. You can’t directly compare user numbers; Instagram is a behemoth compared to the fledgling Vine. Measuring pure engagement is difficult, too, since Instagram allows for photo and video sharing, while Vine is strictly a video-sharing service.

So the key metric to pay attention to, as far as Vine goes, is any collapse in growth since Instagram’s video debut months ago. (Obviously, it’s difficult to directly attribute any Vine growth drop to Instagram, as there are multiple variables in play. For the sake of argument, we’ll say it’s a factor rather than a direct correlation.)

To be sure, Twitter did in fact see a stutter in activity shortly after Instagram video was first released, as noted at the end of this Topsy analytics chart from late June. But since that period, according to these recent studies, that stutter quickly straightened itself out.

One caveat to these studies: Vine is a younger product than Instagram, which gives the app far more runway for growth. And ideally, if there were a way for us to measure the growth of only videos shot across Instagram, that’d be great. (Alas, I doubt Facebook will hand over those numbers unless they’re unquestionably positive.) But again, direct growth comparisons shouldn’t be what to look for, but rather any future decline in Vine’s growth in particular.

And as far as future growth opportunities are concerned? Keep an eye on big brands. A study conducted by NYU think tank Luxury Lab (or L2) stated that 35 percent of “prestige brands” were active on Vine, while the same report said about 26 percent of those prestige brands were experimenting with Instagram video.

Instagram, of course, isn’t taking it lying down. The app makers tasked Emily White to be Instagram’s director of business operations, where she’ll help companies with large followings produce better videos, which could expand the service’s reach (not to mention help as free marketing for the brands).

For now, we’ll keep an eye on the growth charts to see what’s what.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik